Eric Stab

ERIC STAB’S SPEECH FOR THE 20 YEARS’ ANNIVERSARY

Stimați domni și doamne ministru,
Excelențele dumneavoastră domnilor ambasadori,
Dragi colegi din mediul de afaceri și din societatea civilă,
Dragi membri FIC,

Vă mulțumesc că sunteți cu toții alături de noi în această seară când organizația noastră aniversează 20 de ani de activitate în România. Este un moment important pentru noi. FIC a fost fondată de o mână de investitori străini în anul 1997 și în timp a ajuns una dintre organizațiile importante ale mediului de afaceri din România. Sunt sigur că această comunitate pe care o reprezentăm va continua să investească în această organizație și în același timp și în România.


[cu permisiunea dumneavoastră voi continua în engleză]

It’s an interesting exercise to go through the various reports and White Books our organisation has produced over the years (As an aside, FIC has produced 10 White Books and is now very close to launching the 11th edition). It’s a recent history of Romania through a different lens. In the late 90’ it was about stabilising and opening the economy. In the early 2000s it was all about joining the European Union and the single market – which happened in 2007. After 2008, it was about the economic crisis and relaunching economic growth. Now, it’s about sustainable economic growth, structural reforms and real convergence with the countries in western Europe.
Romania’s economy has grown considerably and it is now more than 4 times larger than in 1997. The same can be said about our organisation which has been continuously engaged in this development story. FIC has continued this engagement last year when we made a bold proposal: Romania can become the 10th economy in the EU in the next 20 years, if its economy grows yet again by a factor of four. I can only hope that in 2037, the then FIC president can come before members and report that yet again in the past two decades, the economy and FIC have grown similarly in size.

Anniversaries are also a good occasion for communities to stop for a second and remember what are the values and objectives that bring them together.

  • FIC members believe that for solid economic development to take place there needs to be a consistent dialogue between policy makers and the business environment. Romania has come a long way in this respect since 1997 but we need to be transparent and honest and say more needs to be done. It still happens that major policy changes are decided without a real dialogue and time has proven that in most cases those policies have not reached their objectives. Our community will keep working on building and cementing this dialogue in the future.
  • Secondly, we should restate that our community stands for free markets, open borders and all the other values of liberal Europe. FIC members advocate for a business environment that is predictable, just and free of corruption underwritten by the rule of law, equal rights for all and fair competition.

We would also like to mark this 20th anniversary in a different way. by emphasizing the role of FDI in the Romanian economy.

Each of you will find in front a her a small report regarding the impact of foreign investments in Romania. For the time being we only have a Romanian version to show and English version will soon follow. This report was designed for the Romanian public and authorities and it will be publicly launched during a dedicated event next week. Consider this a sneak preview. I take this opportunity to thank the team from the Academy of Economic Studies with whom we worked together for this report. We have all noticed increased public preoccupation with the role and impact of FDI in Romania. In this debate, our approach is to bring, in a professional manner, reliable data and figures.

This report shows what we have all known, that foreign investors have had a decisive contribution to the economic development of Romania. Of course, companies and people are motivated by profit. This is the reason people have traded and engaged in economic activity since the antiquity. Ultimately, all businessmen and entrepreneurs, Romanian and foreign, have had a fundamental contribution. I mentioned in the beginning that the Romanian economy has grown four times in the past 20 years. This would have never been possible without the businesses, large and small, many of them represented tonight. This is why I believe that a public discourse that antagonizes Romanian and foreign capital is very damaging. A modern and open economy is the only way Romania can ensure prosperity for its citizens. We are committed to work towards this goal of increased prosperity for everyone.

I will end my speech in a minute and I will pass the microphone to the Minister for the Business Environment, Mr. Alexandru Petrescu. He has a message for us tonight on behalf of Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu and the Romanian Government. I have to tell you that the President has also been invited to our anniversary, but could not attend. We should not interpret his not being here as a message. However, his presence, would have been a strong one.

Last but not least, I would like to thank your companies and your employees for the time and work they have devoted to our organisation. There are hundreds of people who could not fit here tonight but without whom this organisation would not exist. I would also like to thank the 115 people who served as Board members in these past 20 years and the 14 former presidents of FIC. Their leadership and vision has turned FIC into what it is today.